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Mechanical Keyboards: Cherry Mx Switch Buying Guide

Updated on October 5, 2012
Each different type of switch has its own color key stem.
Each different type of switch has its own color key stem.

Are Mechanical Keyboards Worth the Price?

Are you thinking about buying a mechanical keyboard? If so, are you wondering whether they're worth the extra money? When comparing the dull thud of a key press on the average keyboards of today, nothing can compare to the responsive feedback of a mechanical keyboard. Unlike rubber dome keyboards or membrane keyboards, mechanical keyboards are higher quality, last ten times longer, are more responsive, and offer a satisfying feedback. Described as sheer bliss by some users, many users say that they won't go back to a rubber dome or membrane keyboard. Not only do mechanical keyboard users enjoy the experience more, for some users it has even increased their typing speed, typing accuracy, and productivity.

How Cherry Mx Switches Work
How Cherry Mx Switches Work

Introducing Cherry Mx Switches

In contrast to the mass-produced keyboards of today, mechanical keyboards are built differently. Each key is controlled by their own switch. Nicknamed by the company that makes them, Cherry Corporation, they are called Cherry Mx switches. Five different colors are available: black, brown, red, blue, white, and clear. Each different color switch has its own unique feedback. The types of feedback are: linear, tactile, and audible or clicky. Determined by differences in the finger of the stem and the strength of the spring, the feedback can be described as:

Linear - There are no tactile bumps or audible clicks upon actuation.

Tactile - A slight tactile bump is felt upon actuation.

Clicky - An audible click is heard upon actuation.

Cherry Mx Switches

Color of Cherry Switch
Actuation Force
60 g.
45 g.
45 g.
50 g.
tactile & clicky

Cherry Mx Switch Uses

Since there are five different cherry mx switches, if this is your first experience with mechanical keyboards, it can be confusing to figure out which keyboard to buy. Most mechanical keyboards on the market today either have black, brown, red, or blue switches. Some keys are better for some uses than others.

Cherry Mx Black - Black switches are linear and a favortie among gamers. Gamers neither need a tactile bump or an audible click since they usually bottom out the key anyway. However, with the highest actuation force among all Cherry Mx switches, they prevent accidental key presses.

Cherry Mx Red - Like black switches, red switches are linear too. Since the lower actuation force causes less hand fatigue, this is a good choice for gamers who want a lighter touch.

Cherry Mx Blue - An excellent switch for touch typists, blue switches are tactile and clicky. With both a tactile bump and audible click, they let typists know when to move on to the next key while the mid-range actuation force helps to prevent accidental key presses.

Cherry Mx Brown - These are a good compromise for people who use their keyboard for gaming and typing. Tactile, the slight bump at actuation helps the typist, while the lack of an audible click makes it less annoying for gamers who do a lot of tapping in their games.

Although mechanical keyboards last longer, since they cost more, it is important to evaluate your keyboard needs, before you purchase one.

If you don't have a mechanical keyboard yet, what's holding you back?

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      JotaJokto 21 months ago

      How is force measured in grams which is a unit of mass, wouldn’t it be newtons which is a unit of force?